King Diamond conquered Kings Theatre w/ Uncle Acid & Idle Hands (pics, review)
The resplendent Kings Theater, located in the heart of Flatbush, is a venue steeped in history and wonder. Beginning its life in the vaudeville Twenties, and undergoing a brilliant restoration after decades of neglect, walking through its doors is like stepping back in time. Period chandeliers illuminate rich red tapestries in the lobby, while mural-adorned restrooms and a stunning gold ceiling in the main space add to its singular charm. It’s a theater fit for, you guessed it, a king. Luckily, Brooklyn was being patronized by one this very evening.
In what must be a dream come true for its members, PDX newcomers Idle Hands opened the night -- which was their first Brooklyn show ever -- with their refreshing take on goth-tinged classic metal. The crowd had already begun to swell, and despite a barrier separating the pit area from the rest of the seated arena, the band was winning over new fans from front to back. The set was culled from their debut album, Mana, which has been receiving nonstop praise since its release this past May. Their stage presence belied their brief time as a band, and they looked as comfortable in front of what must have been one of their largest audiences to date as they would in a small club. Tracks like “Nightfall” and “Give Me To The Night” had heads bobbing and horns in the air, a perfect appetizer that struck a balance in tone between the next two bands.
Hippies of doom Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats found themselves in a rare support slot, but a shortened set list would never stop them from doing what they do best: entrancing the crowd with psychedelic sights and sounds. Culling hits from all their full-lengths, but leaning most on opus Blood Lust, the riffs came relentlessly and impeccably played. They open with fan favorite “I’ll Cut You Down” and never let up on the gas. As much as they play up a Sixties aesthetic, Uncle Acid is an undeniably heavy band, especially hearing them live; ripping into “Mind Crawler” and “13 Candles”, they’re just as ‘metal’ as any thrash band. Frontman Kevin Starrs’ King Diamond-adjacent falsetto never falters, and it’s easy to understand why some in the crowd mention they came to see Uncle Acid just as much as the headliner.
When you go to a King Diamond show, you know you won’t just be seeing a standard concert, but a theatrical, immersive stage show. As King and Company (still including original member Andy LaRocque on guitar) gear up for the promotion of The Institute, their first studio album in 12 years, their stage setup has morphed into a crumbling mental hospital, replete with metal bars and an upside-down cross. After a spooky taped intro, the band appears out of the darkness and rips into Fatal Portrait opener “The Candle”. The ageless King is in top form, hitting every high and harmonizing with his backup singer Livia Zita. Cuts from horror opera Abigail follow, with “Arrival” and “A Mansion In Darkness” back to back following the stillborn Abigail’s ‘funeral’ ceremony, performed by King and his hooded minions. A dancer appears, climbing the stairs to a balcony, and just as quickly is gone. She will reappear several times throughout the night, alternately as a nun, a patient of The Institute – this comes during the performance of new song “Masquerade Of Madness” (which King has been playing all tour and just released as a single right after the Brooklyn show) – and of course the wheelchair-bound Grandma, the central character of King’s most popular song, “Welcome Home”.
While the set is full of hits, notably absent is anything from the band’s post-2000 output (except "Masquerade of Madness"). It’s a minor quibble as the crowd bellows in approval when the acoustic guitars are brought out for “Sleepless Nights”, the song that features King at his most dynamic, and the dedication of closer “Black Horsemen” to former King Diamond/Mercyful Fate bassist Timi Hansen, who passed away just days ago after an extended cancer battle. The crowd dispersed slowly, satisfied, with a positive energy that only comes when the senses are fully engaged. With a new album on the horizon, hopefully that energy returns soon.
Stay tuned for The Institute to come out via Metal Blade in 2020, and for Mercyful Fate to reunite that year too.
Pictures of the Kings Theatre show are in the gallery above. Videos and setlist below.
King Diamond at Kings Theatre - 11/7/19 Setlist
St. Lucifer's Hospital
Behind These Walls
A Mansion In Darkness
Let It Be Done
Masquerade of Madness
Out from the Asylum
The Invisible Guests
photos by P Squared